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Iceland

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 29, 1995
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Iceland (Part 1)
  2. Iceland (Part 2)
  3. The Last Kings Of Thule
  4. Iceland (Part 3)
  5. Indicatif Radio
  6. The Last Kings Of Thule (Part 2)
  7. Short Transition
  8. Greenland
  9. Wintermusic


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cuneiform
  • ASIN: B000009TG4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,428 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Steven Yates on October 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard ICELAND back in 1979 or thereabouts, and the experience was breathtaking. Today, with electronica far more prevalent, it still sounds surprisingly fresh.
Richard Pinhas (veteran of the band Heldon) is French, but his music is a tad more edgy and mechanical, more along the lines of what the Germans were doing (Schulze, some early T. Dream, Cluster, etc.) instead of, say, Jean-Michel Jarre. The title track is a mood piece in three parts, all of which convey images of northern ice floes and brisk, whipping winds. "The Last Kings of Thule" (in two parts) showcases some restrained yet somehow blazing guitar lines--set to an eerie, machinelike pulse. "Greenland" is one of those compositions that sticks with you. Its repetitive refrain will rehearse itself in your mind over and over again long after the track ends. The long-out-of-print vinyl edition stopped with at this point. This release adds "Wintermusic," a 25-minute exercise in Frippian tape-loop ambience that by itself is almost worth the price of the CD!
Brilliant material, holding up well after 21 years of time. There are occasional bits of filler (e.g., "Indicatif Radio"), but they are short, never distracting, and over quickly. ICELAND, and its composer, Richard Pinhas, both deserve far more attention than either has received. This CD belongs in every serious collection of really good electronica.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This incredible album of electronica was recorded in 1979 by French guitarist/keyboardist Richard Pinhas (of the prog band Heldon). Although Richard is a guitarist, the instrument is only used sparingly and the aural landscape is largely dominated by brooding synthesizer parts, taped effects, and synthesized percussion. However, drummer Francois Auger and mini-moog player Jean-Phillipe Goude join Richard on the excellent closing track Greenland, which adds a little variety. My general impression of the album is that the overall sound is gloomy, almost menacing at times, and yes, very icy. There is also a bit of an edge to the recording, which becomes apparent on The Last Kings of Thule and The Last Kings of Thule (Part 2), which feature some very Robert Frippish guitar parts and jarring synthesized percussion parts. I really like the two pieces and they both add a great deal of texture and structure to the album. In fact, I think its worth pointing out that this is not a passive listening experience - there is enough going on here to keep you on the edge of your seat. The last track on the album is a mammoth 24'53" bonus epic that was recorded in 1983. Entitled Wintermusic, it is far more ambient, static, and motionless than the challenging material on the original album. All in all, I would have to say that this is an excellent recording of electronica that is highly recommended to fans of 1970s electronica.
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